Macau bowlers put lives on hold to compete at Ashgabat 2017
Macau’s 10-pin Bowlers, like so many of the participants in this year’s 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, will put their lives on hold next month to test themselves against the best in the continent when they travel to Turkmenistan.
As is the case for so many amateur sportspeople across Asia and Oceania, participants like Eric Lei, Patricia Hui and the rest of the team from the former Portuguese colony will make significant sacrifices when they embark on the lengthy journey to Central Asia from 17–27 September.
While the medals may go elsewhere, the commitment made by numerous sportspeople who juggle their top-class sporting participation with full time jobs or studying is reflective of the spirit shown by so many of those who will participate at Ashgabat 2017.
“It’s not easy. I have to take all of my annual leave to take part in this competition,” said Eric, who has spent the last year working as an assistant civil engineer after returning to Macau following his studies in Australia.
“It’s fine because I’m only interested in Bowling, not too much on things like travelling and other activities.
“My work colleagues don’t really talk much about my Bowling; they just hope I don’t take too much leave from work!”
Eric, like the rest of Macau’s eight-member team, spends much of his non-working life committed to his sport. He trains four to five evenings a week for anything up to three hours per session with the Macau representative team.
During those sessions, he and his teammates refine their technique and adapt their skills to suit the conditions that vary from lane-to-lane, alley-to-alley and day-to-day.
Patricia, a student studying remotely for her Masters degree in business management from the University of Liverpool, believes her situation gives her more opportunities to prepare to compete.
But the stress associated with studying and exams still presents a challenge.
“For students, especially someone like me who’s doing distance learning, it’s a bit easier to go abroad for tournaments,” she said.
“But we still have to balance everything because there’s a lot of stress that comes with the studying and we really need to put effort and time into the studies in order to have a good performance in both.”
The two, along with the rest of the Macau team, will continue to prepare at the Macau East Asian Games Dome until departing for Turkmenistan a few days before the opening ceremony on 17 September.
Having received the technical specifications of the lane set-up for the tournament recently, the bowlers are now able to fine tune their training as the countdown to the competition ticks ever louder.
Eric refused to divulge his goals for the tournament insisting “I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, I just want to get there and do my best”, but his teammate Patricia is keen to improve on her showing in Incheon four years ago.
“I participated in the previous tournament, in Korea, so my goal is to challenge my previous result,” she said.
The Bowling competitions at Ashgabat 2017 will take place at the state-of-the-art Bowling Centre from 21–27 September.